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updated: 5/12/2014 5:31 PM

Lake Zurich ups fee for video gambling liquor license

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  • Jeffrey Halen

      Jeffrey Halen


Lake Zurich will charge 10 times more for a special video gambling liquor license than originally planned for restaurants, bars and other establishments.

Village board members recently approved a $2,500-per-location fee for the annual gaming liquor license. The cost was set at $250 in April when the village board reversed an ordinance that had banned video slot machines and poker.

Trustee Jeff Halen said he pushed for the higher gambling liquor license fee after some businesses indicated a potential of at least $100,000-a-year in revenue from the devices.

Halen said while Lake Zurich typically wants to be in the middle of the pack on municipal fees, he was willing to go up to $5,000 per businesses for the special licenses.

"This is one of those times where I don't personally mind being at the high end," Halen said. "This is something that's going to be generating revenue for the businesses. This (higher fee) is not necessarily going to be hurting them."

Video gambling is permitted in bars, restaurants, truck stops and fraternal orders in communities where it has been approved. Each establishment is limited to five machines, and they must be in areas accessible only to people at least 21 years old.

Five percent of net revenue goes to a municipality and 25 percent to the state, with the terminal operator and licensed establishment splitting the remainder.

Because Lake Zurich does not have home-rule authority, Village Attorney Scott Uhler said, it is limited to a $25 annual fee on each machine. He said there is no specific limit for non-home-rule towns, such as Lake Zurich, on the special liquor license fee.

Lake Zurich will collect $2,625 per location yearly on a maximum of five machines. That compares to $2,500 in Algonquin, $125 in Wauconda, $450 in Carpentersville, $1,500 in East Dundee and $750 in Streamwood, according to village research.

Trustee Jonathan Sprawka said Lake Zurich's financial difficulties and desire for more revenue are reasons it should charge more for a video gambling liquor license.

"These local businesses stand to gain a significant amount (from a) revenue source, which we created," Sprawka said. "And we should participate in that."

However, Trustee Mark Loewes said he was concerned about the $2,500 price being too high and possibly deterring eligible businesses from wanting video gambling.

Before the Lake Zurich village board boosted the special video gaming liquor license fee, Scoreboard Bar and Grill owner Joe Schweda spoke during public comment time and said he understood the rationale but asked that a flat fee not be charged.

"I think you should charge by the machine, not the basic rate, because some of us are not going to get five machines," Schweda told the village board.

Lake Zurich Police Chief Steven Husak said some businesses already are interested in obtaining the special liquor licenses and are being guided on how to proceed.

Twitter: @DHBobSusnjara

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